Virginia Woolf was born on January 25, 1882 in London, England and died on March 28,
1941. She was an English writer whose novels exerted a major influence on the genre by
developing an internal monologue known as stream of consciousness. In 1985, Julia
Jackson, her mother, died at the age of 49. She was just emerging from depression when, in
1897, her half sister Stella Duckworth died at age 28, an event Virginia noted in her diary as
“impossible to write of.” Furthermore, Virginia suffered from a nervous breakdown followed
by the death of his father in 1904. While Virginia was recovering, Vanessa ( her sister)
supervised the Stephen children’s move to the bohemian Bloomsbury section of London.
Then, after a family excursion to Greece in 1906, Thoby died of typhoid fever at the age of
26. It was in Bloomsbury where, in conjunction with the brothers' intellectual friends, they
formed the artistic and literary Bloomsbury Group.Following her 1912 marriage to Leonard
Woolf, the couple founded the Hogarth Press in 1917, which published much of her work.( In
1915 she published her first novel, The Voyage Out). Perception in her novels is fluid, as is
the world she presents. In fact, her haunting language, her prescient insights into
wide-ranging historical, political, feminist, and artistic issues altered the course of Modernist
and postmodernist letters. Throughout her life, Woolf was troubled by her mental illness and
even overcame,twice, an attempt of suicide; she was diagnosticated with bipolar disorder. At
age 59, Woolf committed suicide in 1941 by putting rocks in her coat pockets and drowning
herself in the River Ouse.
● Virginia Woolf was born in January 25, 1882
● She was a British writer born and raised in London, England.
● She was a modernist writer which wrote a lot of best-sellers
● Many of these best-sellers cemented Virginia's Woolf reputation as one of the best
writers of the 20th century.
● Woolf's novels were written with the stream-of-consciousness that is a technique that
focuses on the character's inner thoughts than on the plot of the story.
● Her first novel was published in 1915 and is named The Voyage Out.
● Her last novel called Between The Acts das published few months after her death in
● Virginia Woolf was an important member of the Bloomsbury group that was a group
of artists and writers from the Bloomsbury district in London.
● This was famous as it was one of the first literary groups that openly supported gay
rights, women in the arts, pacifism, uninhibited sexuality and other political and social
● Virginia Woolf married Leonardo Woolf which was a college friend of Thoby, his
brother. They married in 1912 and they remained like that until her death in 1941.
● Vita Sackville-West was a poet, aristocrat, and most important, Woolf's lover.
● People speculated that Woolf had previous relationships with women, nevertheless,
Sackville-West was the only women she acknowledged having a romantic
● Virginia Woolf suffered from a bipolar disorder and she also attempted suicide a
number of times.
● In the spring of 1941 while suffering a bout of depression she finally drowned herself
in the River ouse near her house.
Women in the 19th C
During the 19th century, men and women were thought to have completely different natures
and therefore, people saw those differences as dictating separate and different functions in
society. Women were thought to be more pure, innocent, and morally superior to men;
however, they were also more easily corrupted. More importantly, women who expressed
ideas contrary to the society’s principles were deemed to have "unsexed" themselves. A
“true woman” was expected to exhibit piety, purity,submissiveness and domesticity.
According to their sexuality, women were not supposed to feel any sexual desire, otherwise,
they were considered to be abnormal. Marriage was seen as the only proper locale for
moderate sex and therefore, women were not supposed to have any real sexual contact
before their marriage. Sex within marriage usually meant frequent pregnancy and the law
guaranteed a husband his "rights" to his wife's body. What is worse, homosexuality, in
England, was punishable by death from 1563 until 1885. According to the employment,
lower-class women could be servants, factory workers, prostitutes, etc. Middle- and
upper-class women could help, in some cases, with a family business, but generally, the
economy and the society dictated that women should work in the home, taking care of home
and raising their children. They could be educated and could study, as long as it did not
interfere with their housework.
In addition, During the reign of Queen Victoria, a woman's place was considered to be at
home. With the pass of the time things changed and the female role of service began to
extend and Victorian feminism began to emerge as a potent political force.
At the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria women stayed always at home as
domesticity and motherhood were considered to be a sufficient emotional fulfilment for
females. Also, Victoria became an icon of late-19th-century middle-class femininity and
domesticity. She was seen as the very model of marital stability and domestic virtue. Victoria
also was also described as 'the mother of the nation'.
The female body was dressed to emphasise a woman's separation from the world of work,
so Women's clothes began to mirror women's función. The fashion for constricting corsets
and large skirts served to underline not only a woman's prime function, but also the physical
constraints on her activities.
Most middle-class women were able to afford sufficient servants to allow them to spend
their lives in idle leisure. They had just one servant - sufficient to give the woman of the
house a certain status, women actively moulded a culture that served their own interests.
The domestic sphere was a cultural expression of the female world.
Their fashions, etiquette, domestic furnishings, social engagements, religious devotion and
charitable activity all served to delineate a universe within which women could demonstrate
It was said ideal Victorian women has been portrayed as a member of the middle classes,
but the ideology of domesticity was also powerful amongst the working classes.
At the same time working-class women were beginning to demand these privileges for
themselves, in order to protect their status within the home.
During that era marriage signified a woman's maturity and respectability, but motherhood
was confirmation that she had entered the world of womanly virtue and female fulfilment. For
a woman not to become a mother meant she was liable to be labelled inadequate.
Working-class mothers were therefore more likely to be labelled irresponsible and neglectful,
when in truth they were struggling to combine the demands of childcare and putting a meal
on the table. These women of the Victorian era did leave their homes - and not just to
socialise but to visit the homes of the poor. They used their position of privilege to export
expertise in domestic affairs to those regarded as in need of advice, so they might attain the
same high standards of household management.
Female charitable activity was informed by religious commitment as well as by a sense of
moral superiority. These women believed that the key to philanthropy was the personal
touch, so the lady reformer ventured out to those in need.
The aim of first-wave feminists was to gain better education and employment opportunities
for middle-class women, better working conditions and wages for working-class women, and
eventually the vote - so that women might have some influence over their fate.